The National Human Rights Commission said on Friday Jawaharlal Nehru University student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar was subjected to psychological pressure, adding his assault in a court complex appeared to be “planned”.
The NHRC said Kumar was subjected to psychological pressure and was made to issue a statement before he appeared in the court, owing allegiance to the Constitution which was dictated by police.
“Kanhaiya Kumar was abused and physically assaulted by some persons dressed as advocates in the Patiala House court premises on February 17.
“He was even physically assaulted inside the adjoining court room in the presence of police who did not do anything to prevent the assault or apprehend the attackers even though they were identified by Kanhaiya Kumar then and there. The physical assault on Kumar in the court premises appears to be organised and pre-planned,” a report submitted to the NHRC by its fact-finding panel said.
The NHRC team said what happened in the Patiala House court complex on Wednesday when Kumar was attacked was a major security lapse on the part of the police.
“There was serious dereliction of duty on the part of the police. Going by the sequence of events, the safety and security of Kanhaiya and his family members is a serious cause of concern,” the committee said.
It said the statement which was issued by the force as an appeal on behalf of Kumar was not written by him voluntarily. “The content, construction and framework of the statement were as dictated by the police.”
The panel, which visited Kumar in Tihar jail on Thursday, quoted him as having said that he was arrested without any valid reason and without disclosing to him even grounds of arrest.
“He had not committed any offences as now alleged. However, this aspect is under investigation by the police. Kumar did not complain of any physical assault by the police while in custody. However, he was subjected to psychological pressure during interrogation,” it said.
A copy of the inquiry report submitted by the NHRC team has been forwarded to Delhi Police commissioner BS Bassi and the director general of Tihar Jail.
The commission, which had earlier issued notices to the Union home secretary, Delhi chief secretary, Delhi police commissioner and registrar of Jawaharlal Nehru University, sent the team to Tihar to ascertain the treatment meted out to Kumar by the police and prison authorities while in custody.
It was also tasked with ascertaining whether the statement released to the press by the Delhi Police commissioner in the name of Kumar was made by him voluntarily and without any extraneous influence.
It said Tihar has made special arrangements to ensure safety and security of Kumar and that he has been kept in an independent and separate cell. “Dedicated security staff has been deployed to ensure his safety and security round the clock. Several security instructions have been issued by the prison authorities in this regard.”
Kumar, arrested for alleged sedition, moved the Delhi high court on Friday to seek bail after the Supreme Court refused to intervene in the matter saying that would set a precedent of due process being bypassed.
The matter was yet to be listed for hearing before a high court bench, meaning Kanhaiya would have to spend the weekend in Tihar jail with a lower court having sent him to judicial custody till March 2.
High Court Bar Association president Rajiv Khosla urged lawyers to maintain peace and condemned the violence in the Patiala House courts complex where Kanhaiya and journalists were repeatedly beaten up. Hundreds of defiant lawyers, however, staged a demonstration in the Capital on Friday to assert they would physically assault anyone they deemed anti-national.